Wednesday, December 1, 2021

DPR refuses to protect groundwater; the rulemaking process is accused

After two years in operation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has abandoned efforts to protect drinking water from nitrates, the most common pollutant in the state.

In 2019, the governor and DNR’s political council approved parameters for the agency to develop new rules for the use of manure and fertilizers in areas of the state where groundwater is vulnerable to pollution.

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The rule-making process usually takes 30 months and requires legislative approval.

After years of reports of recycling failures, 2021 will be a boom year for businesses that are cyclical in nature.



DNR informed its advisory committee on Wednesday that it is giving up the effort in an email stating that “the legislative process and the associated hard deadlines set by the Legislature do not give the department enough time to finalize this proposed rule.”

The email was issued by environmental groups that were part of the advisory group, which accused Republican lawmakers of passing a 2017 law updating the rule-making process.

Both Attorney General Josh Kaul and Natural Resources Council Chairman Fred Pren went to court to hear the case after a Dane County judge rejected Kaul’s attempt to oust the appointed Walker.

In accordance with the timetable set by law, the rule was to go to the policy board and the governor this fall before undergoing legislative scrutiny this winter.

Midwestern environmentalists called the announcement “a devastating blow to many families in rural Wisconsin,” especially in the southwest corner and the Central Sands area, where shallow topsoil and fractured bedrock have led to widespread groundwater pollution.

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